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France / Belgium / Luxembourg / Switzerland, 1999 (MIFF 2000, Towering Over The Eiffel – New French Cinema)

Director: Frédéric Fonteyne

This controversial film depicts a torrid relationship between two lovers who meet through an advertisement in a porn magazine, intent on sharing a fantasy. Featuring interviews with 'her' and 'him', the film shifts from present-day to flashback as it uncovers a love affair that evolves out of a strictly sexual encounter. Discrepancies occur between the two parties' recollections of the fantasy, only adding to the notion that we are witnessing a true story that bares all the imperfections of real life.

This quintessentially French drama is imbued with a remarkable intimacy even given the fiery eroticism of its subject matter. Teasing us with unapologetic intrigue, director Frederic Fonteyne has made a thoughtful and reflective film. Akin to the contentious Romance (MIFF 1999), A Pornographic Affair is fuelled by powerhouse performances—Nathalie Baye won the Best Actress award at the Venice Film Festival—and confronting subject matter. Not to be missed.

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